Attendees of New York Comic Con got some big news on Saturday, Oct. 5: The Walking Dead Season 11 will include Lauren Cohan's return as a series regular. Showrunner Angela Kang confirmed that AMC renewed TWD for an eleventh season at the show's panel, and then Cohan made a surprise appearance to announce that her character, Maggie Greene, will be a series regular again for the first time since Season 8 in 2018. A video posted to TWD's official Twitter account showed the actor posing as a costumed fan and came onstage at Madison Square Garden's Hulu Theater to take a photo with the cast before eventually removing her mask for the big reveal.
Cohan appeared in a guest role for the first five episodes of TWD's Season 9 in 2018 before exiting the AMC series completely to headline ABC's short-lived spy dramedy Whiskey Cavalier, alongside Scott Foley. Her contract had expired at the end of TWD's eighth season, resulting in a salary dispute. During a July 2018 episode of SiriuXM's Andy Cohen Live, Cohan assured fans that her renegotiation was a "standard business practice" and that Maggie's story was "not finished." She further explained that "you don't break up with someone and forget about them and delete them from your life," but, rather, "things transition into different places."
In a Nov. 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cohan described her surprised reaction to the extensive salary renegotiation, considering them "a sign" that maybe TWD was "maybe just not a fit anymore." Even so, she added to EW that there were no hard feelings and that she and Kang, along with chief content officer Scott Gimple, had "creative story conversations" about how Maggie could possibly return to TWD in the future.
ABC cancelled Whiskey Cavalier in May 2019 after one season, leaving the door open for Cohan to come back to the AMC series. When asked by EW in July about the likelihood of that happening, Kang replied that she couldn't say much but did tease that they were "working on it."
Following Kang's Oct. 5 Comic Con announcement, Sarah Barnett, President of AMC Networks Entertainment Group & AMC Studios, said in a statement that they're "delighted" to welcome back Cohan and that she "has meant so much to this show and its passionate, global fanbase, who are in for a fantastic ride over the coming months."
Among the things fans can look forward to when TWD Season 10 premieres on Oct. 6 include what the Whisperers are up to. Kang explained at Comic Con she's "excited for people to see" the storyline play out, according to EW. "It's such a strange and interesting set of villains," she added, per the outlet. Deadline reported that series creator Robert Kirkman also announced on Oct. 5 that Season 10 will feature one of his "favorite characters" from the comic book: Juanita Sanchez (aka "Princess" or "Princess of Pittsburgh"), who will be played by actor Paola Lazara.
The addition of Princess, along with Maggie's Season 11 return, follows the exits of main characters like Chandler Riggs' Carl, who last appeared in Season 8, as well as Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes, who departed the series in Season 9. Following the upcoming tenth season, actor Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne, is also leaving TWD.
Despite the loss of beloved characters, AMC seems open to bringing back original favorites, like Cohan's Maggie.